atoru Arai, Head of Sony Middle East Marketing Company, with the new Sony A 7 R 11 at an event in Dubai. In 2015, the mirrorless market is expected to reach 4.7 million units compared to 4.6 million last year. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman/Gulf News

Dubai: Even though the total digital camera market is heading southward, the mirrorless segment is gaining traction.

The camera industry is dominated by Canon and Nikon but the mirrorless movement has given other manufacturers a new avenue to challenge the leaders.

DSLR cameras use mirrors to reflect the image passing through the lens, which can be seen through the viewfinder. By eliminating the mirrors, the cameras become light and compact.

According to a GfK research report, the global digital still camera sales fell seven per cent in the second quarter to 6.8 million units but value rose two per cent to 2.5 billion euros (Dh10.07 billion).

In 2015, the mirrorless market is expected to reach 4.7 million units compared to 4.6 million units last year. In the MEA, the market is expected to grow to 1,392,000 units compared to 1,046,000 units last year.

Satoru Arai, head of Sony Middle East Marketing Company, told Gulf News, after launching the slimmest and lightest full-frame mirrorless camera — Alpha 7R II — that mirrorless cameras are eating into the market share of DSLR makers.

Full-frame sensors produce the best high-resolution images with high ISOs, which allow users to take photos in very lowlight conditions.

The company, also the leader in the mirrorless segment, unveiled other two models — RX10 II and RX100 IV — to grab a bigger share of the pie.

Sony market share ranges from 43 per cent in UAE, 48 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 87 per cent in India.

The Alpha 7R II is a 42.4MP camera with better image stabilisation capabilities and even capable of taking images in very lowlight conditions. It can capture 4K (ultra high definition) at 30 or 24 frames per second for 29 minutes with the camera and the RX100 IV will be limited to a five-minute clip.

Targeted at pros and enthusiasts, Arai said the Alpha 7R II is the world’s first interchangeable lens camera with a back-illuminated 35mm full-frame sensor.

It has 399 autofocus points and capable of up to 1,000 frames per second for slow motion recording.

It is priced at Dh11,999 (Alpha 7R II), Dh4,999 (RX10 II) and Dh3,699 (RX100 IV).

Arai said that consumers’ preference for cameras that are lightweight and have fast autofocus capabilities is increasing globally even though the global camera market is heading southward.

The Japanese giant is the world’s largest supplier of image sensors to other camera manufacturers and smartphone vendors, and controls 50 per cent of the global market.

“We see lot of growth opportunities in the region. Last year, the mirrorless segment contributed 15 per cent to the total regional camera sales and it is expected to grow to 20 per cent this year. The growth in the mirroless segment in the last two years is around 110 per cent,” he said.

Arai admitted that smartphones are eating to the low- to mid-end segment, so manufacturers are looking to diversify its offerings that, and full-frame camera is one of them.